09/06/2022, 14.55
ISRAEL – SYRIA
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Syria and Israel open a ‘direct’ channel of communication over Iran's presence

In recent weeks, Israel struck the airports of Damascus and Aleppo. According to Ynet News, contacts are centred on military rather than political issues. Israel’s aim is to weaken Iran’s presence and block attacks against its territory. For Syrian President Assad, the goal is to protect the areas under his direct control and neutralise rebel strongholds.

Damascus (AsiaNews) – Syria and Israel have opened lines of direct communication to discuss Iran’s presence in Syria, this according to a veteran Israel war correspondent writing in Ynet News.

The nature of the contacts is more military than political; nevertheless, they represent an attempt to weaken what Israel calls the Iranian threat in the Middle East by working with the Syrian regime.

Over the past decade, Israel has carried out hundreds of operations in Syrian territory, killing and wounding scores of people, including civilians, as well as causing material damage to military and civilian facilities.

Last week, part of Aleppo's airport was hit, while in June the main airport in the Syrian capital of Damascus came under fire.

According to Israel, its targeted airstrikes are aimed at Iranian militias using the two airports to smuggle weapons.

On other occasions, training facilities, military bases, and warehouses were hit in those parts of the country, about 70 per cent of the territory, regained by the Syrian government.

Iran has been a key ally of the Assad regime since the start of the war in March 2011, supplying weapons and manpower to fight alongside Syria’s regular army.

However, the turning point in the conflict came with Russia’s entry in support of Assad, which allowed him to take back large swathes of territory seized by rebel groups and jihadis.

Israel too has played an active role. For its leaders, the presence of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and regular troops on its borders represents a threat to the country’s very existence.

For Israeli analysts and experts, Israel has been successful in countering Iran’s growing influence and weapon imports in Syria.

Israel’s military has been able to operate freely in Syria while keeping diplomatic channels open to prevent an escalation that could trigger an open conflict.

By contrast, President Assad cannot endure attacks on Syria’s strategic infrastructures such as airports, since his forces have not yet eliminated all rebel strongholds.

To this end, the Syrian leader turned to Russia, asking its leaders to exert pressure on Israel to stop military operations.

With its war in Ukraine, Russia has had, however, to scale down its involvement in Syria, pushing Syrian leaders to start direct contacts with Israel in order to protect its territory.

President Assad also asked his Iranian allies not to use Syria to attack the Jewish state, a request that was accepted, sources say, because Iranian leaders view it as legitimate.

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